How Does the Venus Flytrap Catch Flies?

Attraction of Flies & Insects

The Venus flytrap plant produces hinged foliage traps much like taco-shaped green leaves. The plant produces the traps in multiples each year from spring through the fall. Inside, the traps are coated with a sweet nectar that acts as an attractant to flies and other small insects.

Rapid Plant Movement Mechanism

Inside each of the traps are three trigger hairs that hang down from the top half of the trap. When an insect brushes up against one of the hairs twice or against more than one of the hairs at a time, the trap will snap shut within one-half second. This rapid plant movement is created by a precipitous drop in turgor pressure in the plant cells and along the half-fold line of the trap.

Trapped & Digested

The green semi-rigid fingers that ring the trap act like jail bars keeping the fly or other insect inside the trap and preventing escape. When the trigger hairs remain stimulated the trap remains shut. Then the trap begins to produce digestive juices that remain inside the trap and work to reduce the fly or other victim to its basic elements: minerals and sugars. The Venus flytrap mostly uses nitrogen or recombines the fly nutrients to produce nitrogen.

Keywords: carniverous plants, Venus flytrap, catch flies

About this Author

A communications professional, D.C. Winston has more than 17 years of experience writing and editing content for online publications, corporate communications, business clients, industry journals and film/broadcast media. Winston studied political science at the University of California, San Diego.